The San Benito County Public Health Department is emphasizing that getting a flu shot is more important than ever, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
County interim Public Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci on Aug. 20 issued a press release stating that the county’s Public Health Services department is conducting several free “drive-thru” flu vaccination clinics by appointment only.
“Our first and foremost concern is the health and well-being of our community,” he said.
The vaccination clinics will be conducted at the Public Health Services office, 351 Tres Pinos Road Suite A-202, on five days starting Sept. 17 and 24 from 3 to 7 p.m. The next set of appointments will be Oct. 1 and 8 from 3 to 7 p.m. along with a Saturday morning clinic on Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to Ghilarducci, public health experts say that it’s difficult to know how the flu will interact with Covid-19. He said the flu season has been mild in the Southern Hemisphere, which is usually six months ahead of the USA.
The county health experts said they’re not certain if the same public health measures that prevent the virus such as wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing are also connected to stopping flu outbreaks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine.
“Flu vaccines work, and they can take a big burden off our medical infrastructure,” said Dr. Michael Bogey, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital Chief of Emergency Medicine. “Let’s keep people out of the hospital with the flu while we deal with a likely upswing in Covid-19 infections.”
In 2018-19, the CDC reported there were about 490,000 people hospitalized because of the flu and more than 35,000 died. Since March, more than 345,000 Americans have been hospitalized and 170,000 have died from Covid-19.
“Getting a flu vaccine this year is even more important than ever because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ghilarducci said.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment call Public Health Services at (831) 637-5367.